a tapestry of glass
a curl in ink
a fluff of smile
a breath of tea
dust of aged hands
'Unremembered Soundscapes' is in five connected movements each based on one of the traditional Iranian professions. The first movement, "a tapestry of glass", is based on the Persian art of carpet weaving. Sounds related to this activity, such as the sound of the warps and wefts or combing, serve as the sound material for the electroacoustic part, whereas the graphical design of the carpet inspires both the macro and micro musical structures. "a curl in ink" reflects on the Persian art of calligraphy. In this movement one can hear seagulls and other creatures that seem to be hidden in the sound of a reed or bamboo pen on a glossy paper. The third movement, "a fluff of smile", draws upon sounds and actions involved in two of the old Iranian professions, cotton-fluffing and felting. The chant of a cotton-fluffer riding the alleys on his bike searching for costumers, or the resonant sound of his bow-shaped fluffing tool constitute the sonic material for this movement. The sounds in the forth movement, "a breath of tea", come from the soundscapes of traditional Iranian teahouses, like the sound of the samovar, the bubbling 'qalyawn' or hookah, and the 'estekawn nalbekee', a small glass teacup and saucer. The last movement, "dust of aged hands", makes use of the sounds of etching and coppersmithing that were recorded in an aged bazaar in Isfahan that has been in decline over the past few decades.
At another level, Unremembered Soundscapes reflects upon what I saw in the faces of the old men and women who have devoted their lives to these professions; humility, simplicity, and silence. The delicate and intricate work involved in these professions requires one to put one’s body and soul in peace; and this provides a time and atmosphere to look within; and true humility brings about silence.
Carpet weavers at the loom in a small home-workshop in Meraq
Plucking the bow-shaped fluffing tool and gently moving the vibrating string through the pile of cotton
Massaging wet soapy wool over an oven
Etched silver and brass plates showcased in an etching and coppersmithing bazaar in Isfahan
Mr. Hassan Norouzie, master of Persian calligraphy, with calligraphy tools and an audio recorder on his desk
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